Ubuntu releasing smartphone OS has better chance than other platforms

Posted by ubuuser on Jan 9, 2013 12:11 PM
LXer Linux News; By ubuuser

LXer Feature: 09-Jan-2013

I am not talking about ubuntu winning against android, IOS or even windows, but ubuntu as an OS has more chance of winning than projects like tizen, bada, megoo, sailfish etc.

Ubuntu is the 3rd most popular computer operating system. People around the world have warmly adopted Ubuntu. It has a very rich ecosystem of enthusiasts, and developers. You may hate or like unity, but a person who buys an ubuntu phone, knows its ubuntu (because of the interface similarity). Above all, OEM's will love Ubuntu. There are many reasons to support this argument. As of now OEMs have the following interests.

1. They want to deliver some of their own content (e.g movies, music)

2. Some OEM's don't want to be a copycat of all the other android phones

3. There is a need for an alternate ecosystem, that can compete with android and IOS (in some aspects)

4. There is a need for desktop OS that complements mobile OS

5. OEM's want to have first class support (in speed and performance) for their middle range phones

Yes, OEM's have feared since the beginning, of total control of android. At the time it was a necessity. Because they could build the hardware but without a global ecosystem, such as android they would be fractured and never could have competed with Apple. Interests do change over time. Currently lots of OEM's are trying to have their own constant revenue generating system. They at least want to have some control over media like movies and music. Most of all, they can't leave android because the app ecosystem of android is what they can't deliver themselves.

Relying only on android, sometimes they lack in many aspects to their competition. Thus as a dependency they have to always build the hardware that is better than their competition. In the low range, they cannot deliver the performance required to run android. In many cases they cannot upgrade software on these devices too.

Ubuntu has following advantages to the OEM's over android.

1. As promised by Mark Shuttleworth, OEM's can have their own content delivery system

2. Ubuntu can run apps natively, without any more effort than to write a normal qt application

3. As we know ubuntu has a constant update system (if they can keep up in mobile), which takes the burden and pain away from the OEM's to have to optimize their builds for newer version of the software

4. Ubuntu is much more open than android, so it can get more care from the community

5. Ubuntu can bring lots of Desktop apps (by optimizing) to the mobile

6. It can run on lower hardware (as promised by Mark, but can't comment based on laggyness on Nexus)

Using ubuntu OEM's can not only differentiate their devices, but also have a constant update system and take away their share of the burden. Since all apps on ubuntu run natively (except HTML off course), it gives OEM's to have Ubuntu on their lower cost devices too. There is a huge demand for lower cost smartphones all around the globe. Many companies have built such phones with android, but without the android market place (because these phones cannot run applications that are popular in android market place, because they cannot generate power required by these applications). They will surely want to have ubuntu as the OS, if ubuntu can run a larger amount of applications on these devices.

Is ubuntu a threat to android? What would google think about it? Its time google realizes, there is a need for such an operating system. Samsung brought back tizen from the dead, because they want to have control over some of the aspects of the software or delivery system. We have seen huge companies rise and fall due to OEM demands. If google cannot play well with ubuntu, they surely have hard time ahead, because one thing that is constant is change. One way or the other, people will one day want to have some control outside google. If google can be a partner in this project, its even better for them, but if they want to crush this project, something else will come to crush them. Both OS being Linux or android (to some degree), the whole ecosystem can ultimately benefit, not lose.

Final question?

Ubuntu had many thoughts about different projects in the past. Lots of them failed, and they lost their focus quite often. You may like it or not, it looks like canonical were planning this since the beginning of unity. Unity (to unite all devices under one operating system called ubuntu). Even the amazon search makes sense, because it shows they don't want to invent everything themselves (as lot of big companies who became big by one particular software, later tried to capture whatever there is in the market, once they became big). They don't want to create a shopping site themselves, they don't want to create their own web search software, they don't want to create their own facebook, twitter.

Its a good thing, because these software (sites) are good at what they do. If canonical can bring them seamlessly under ubuntu, it is a good thing. The big question is, can they do it as they have promised. Can they make it a successful devices in terms of software. I am not talking about the OEM's (which have even bigger role), but can they write the software properly? Can they make it a first class OS of middle range devices and a good resource utilizer in high end ones? Can they make the desktop and the mobile OS independent and yet complement each other? These are just my views, but one thing is for sure what directions will ubuntu go will surely decide where they will be in popularity and usage.

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